The experience of part-time students in higher education: a direct comparison with full-time students

Burke, A. 2017. The experience of part-time students in higher education: a direct comparison with full-time students. Thesis Lancaster University Department of Educational Research

TitleThe experience of part-time students in higher education: a direct comparison with full-time students
AuthorsBurke, A.
Abstract

Despite the fact that part-time students make up a significant proportion of the total number of students in higher education, their experience does not receive the same level of attention as full-time students. Furthermore, when research has been conducted into part-time higher education it has tended to consider part-time students as a discrete group.
This study evaluates the experience of part-timers by comparing it directly with that of full-time students who are co-present on the same course. The study is based on a large undergraduate programme at an English university. An analytical framework is developed, based on the concept of student engagement. Key themes are identified to provide the basis for a comparison between part-time and full-time students and respective levels of student performance and student satisfaction are also compared.
The findings suggest that part-time students have higher levels of confidence and a better sense of direction, but adopt a much more strategic approach to their studies. By some measures, this could be indicative of a lower level of engagement, but many part-time students would actually welcome a more intellectually challenging course of study. Their strategic approach may therefore simply be a response to a delivery mode which does not adequately distinguish between part-time and full-time students.

Keywordspart time; full time; comparison; student experience; student engagement; co-present
Year2017

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